Appellate Court Affirms Dismissal of “Ponzio Scheme” Defamation Case

Attorney David Osborne recently prevailed in an appeal arising out of a quite colorful defamation lawsuit in Cook County, stemming from the 2013 Elmwood Park election.  The Plaintiff, Joseph Ponzio, was the unsuccessful candidate for Village President.  Our client, a political consultant, created and distributed a campaign brochure shortly before the election, stating that Ponzio was trying to deceive the electorate in several respects, all to get control over their hard earned tax dollars, and that this campaign was a “Ponzio Scheme.”  Ponzio’s complaint alleged that these statements were made with actual malice, and were false and defamatory.  The plaintiff sought $1 million in compensatory, and $500,000 in punitive damages. 

We were able to get the case dismissed with prejudice at the trial court level.  The Plaintiff took an appeal in which he argued that even if the statements were not defamatory in the context of a political campaign, they impugned his integrity in his occupation as a financial consultant.  The First District appellate court held that the trial court had properly dismissed the complaint, and  affirmed the lower court’s judgment in our client’s favor.